Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith
President Joe Biden talks with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, in the Red Room of the White House, January 11, 2022.

The White House announced on Sunday that “National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, and convened a modified U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group (SCG) meeting to discuss the war in Gaza, including ongoing diplomacy to secure the release of all the hostages and our shared objective for the enduring defeat of Hamas.”

Sullivan briefed his Israeli hosts on “US support for Israeli efforts to find and bring to justice Hamas’s leaders in Gaza, as well as discussions with Egypt to fully secure its border with Rafah and to secure the continued flow of humanitarian assistance through Kerem Shalom, even as talks proceed on reopening the Rafah crossing.”


Finally, Sullivan “reaffirmed the need for Israel to connect its military operations to a political strategy that can ensure the lasting defeat of Hamas, the release of all the hostages, and a better future for Gaza.”

Sullivan made a concerted effort during his rapid visit to the Middle East, which also involved discussions on Saturday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, amidst growing frustration at the White House over Israel’s plans to initiate a decisive ground offensive in Rafah, in southern Gaza. Tensions have escalated due to setbacks in the negotiations for a ceasefire agreement that would secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s continuing opposition to a Middle East peace plan that incorporates the establishment of a Palestinian state.

One of the key objectives of the administration for the Middle East centers around an ambitious trilateral agreement that would encompass a security pact between the US and Saudi Arabia, the normalization of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the establishment of a Palestinian State.

Although in the past the Saudis would have gone ahead with a peace agreement with Israel that did not include a Palestinian State, after the Gaza war this is no longer a viable option. And so, Netanyahu’s steadfast refusal to permit the establishment of a Palestinian State inevitably takes off the table the idea of “normalization” with Riyad. And so, chances are the Americans would sign a pact with the Saudis that would fail to impact the war in Gaza or the aspirations in Ramallah.

According to the White House, Sullivan engaged in “constructive” discussions with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday during his visit to Saudi Arabia. Subsequently, Sullivan briefed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his team on “the potential opportunities that may now be available for Israel, as well as the Palestinian people.” But as long as Netanyahu and his 64-strong coalition (possibly only 63-strong with DM Yoav Gallant preparing to jump ship) refuse to cooperate with the plot to surround the Jewish State with two terrorist states, there won’t be a Saudi deal either.

As the Biden administration pursues its goals––realistic or wishful thinking, with less than six months remaining before the November election, President Joe Biden is still grappling with backlash from the left-wing base of the Democratic party, who are angered by his support for Israel.

During Sunday’s commencement speech at Morehouse College, a historically Black university in Atlanta, Georgia, Biden stated that he was “working to build a lasting durable peace” in the Middle East. He posed questions about the future, saying, “The question is, as you see what’s going on in Israel today: What after? What after Hamas? What happens then? What happens in Gaza? What rights do the Palestinian people have?”

Biden admitted to his audience, “This is one of the hardest, most complicated problems in the world.”

OK, that’s very good news. As they say in 12-step programs, the most important step is to recognize that you have a problem. Later on, we’ll deal with surrendering to the higher power, which appears to be on the side of Israel. Maybe what the administration needs right now is a good meeting. I hear DC is full of them.

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David writes news at